In the Loop

It’s Thursday afternoon and you’re aching for an artsy adventure. You hop the 6 to Uptown every three days for sushi and, frankly, the hipster pandemic is getting a little old. But where can you escape the gold lamé and still wander streets filled with entertaining potential? We’ve got some good news for you. The North Loop , a neighborhood located in the center of Minneapolis, is all of the originality minus the popular pretenses. Throw in all-American families walking dogs, chic art galleries and an organic food store and you’ve got a neighborhood that fulfills any wish you can conjure. The North Loop neighborhood has quite the history; once a booming industrial center of Minneapolis, a bustling hub of activity full of factories and train stations, it later fell into neglect until those avant-garde granola kids of the 1970s revitalized it, turning warehouses into the spacious lofts and coffeehouses that remain the neighborhoodâÄôs main draw today. Its ideal location, situated happily near the cultural kaleidoscope of downtown Minneapolis, makes it a perfect place to hang your hat. The North LoopâÄôs been in the news lately because of its proximity to Target Field , future home of the Minnesota Twins âÄîthe 40,000 seat ball park will be located on the southeast edge of the neighborhood and is scheduled to be completed in 2010. FOOD: From sushi and steak to coffee and homegrown corn, the North Loop is a wealth of diverse dining experiences for all levels of wealth. You just have to know where to look. Local D’Lish Local D’Lish has scarcely been open a week, but this little grocery store is already embedding itself into the rich history of the Loop. The store prides itself on selling local, organic dishes only. They’ve got soda from Spring Grove and bread from the heart of St. Paul. Keep an eye out in the winter, because they’re hosting the monthly farmer’s market! Moose and Sadie’s With a different menu every week, including a delicious BLT and soups that dance nimbly on your taste buds, this little diner’s got the pastel green walls and checker tiles that artsy Uptown cafés dream about. Photographs of the two adorable mascots, Sadie, a teensy Asian toddler, and Moose, an enormous silver Great Dane, watch over the ever-satisfied guests. Monte Carlo If you’re looking for something on the pricier side to impress a lady friend, look no further than Monte Carlo Bar and Restaurant. Hailing a beginning in the 1920s, this bar is down-home cooking with class. Meatloaf sandwiches and crispy golden chicken tantalize the taste buds of guests sitting around an immense copper-topped bar. Its outdoor seating is perfect for dinner on one of the few remaining warm September nights. The Loop Bar The Loop is a cozy bar to warm up to this winter or celebrate your boyfriend’s 20-something birthday. Cushy white booths, a nearly endless list of domestic and import beer joined with crazy-delicious wood stone pizza create an exemplary atmosphere for celebration or procrastination. ENTERTAINMENT: Now it’s the freaking weekend and you’re tired of watching reruns of âÄúHouseâÄù alone with your goldfish. The North Loop has plenty of entertainment sites booming in its quaint streets. Laughing and strippers and cyclists, oh my! Acme Comedy Company As students, discounts are always a gigantic attraction when it comes to entertainment. The rates for dinner with a show are surprisingly affordable. Don’t expect a third-rate comedian; Acme draws names fresh from the largest comedy tours. Theatre de la Jeune Lune A theater company founded in France 30 years ago, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has shut down earlier this year in an attempt to remain solvent. Right now, the company is reinventing and experimenting to bring more of what weâÄôve always anticipated from the directors: Artistic ingenuity and breathtaking scene creations. You may have seen the company’s production of âÄúFishtankâÄù or âÄúFigaroâÄù earlier this year. One on One Bicycle Studio This place is where you’ll head if you get a little nostalgic for the Uptown air. This quaint studio boasts âÄúcoffee + bikes + stuffâÄù and hosts frequent get-togethers for mobs of artsy-biker-types with their rolled-up skinny jeans. They’ve got a beautiful bike selection, from shiny and new to classy and vintage. Minneapolis FarmerâÄôs Market If youâÄôre planning on walking to the Minneapolis FarmerâÄôs Market, you better pack your bravery shoes in your backpack, because to get to its remote location you might have to dodge oncoming traffic under an underpass. But once youâÄôve arrived, itâÄôs easy to see that the farmerâÄôs market is by far the best part about the North Loop, simply because of its rows upon rows of vivid produce: Fat scarlet tomatoes, oh-so-sweet Honeycrisp apples, fresh cut flowers, and a rainbow-hued array of peppers. For the paltry sum of $5, you can go home with a dozen ears of corn, a gigantic watermelon or the ripest of raspberries. The Lyndale market opened in 1937 and today more than 200 vendors offer their wares at the marketâÄôs many stalls; itâÄôs expanded to the Nicollet Mall market, so if youâÄôre taking a trip to MacyâÄôs or Target the most delicious of produce is there at your disposal, too. The market runs daily from mid-April to mid-November, 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., so if youâÄôre planning a dinner party or like the idea of eating local produce, the farmerâÄôs market is your one-stop shop. Q-Ba-Maze Do you long for the days of your youth when it was acceptable to play with toys? Did you beg your mother to save your boxes of Legos and KâÄônex because you simply couldnâÄôt bear to give those precious building blocks away? Lucky for you, the North Loop is home to the headquarters of Q-Ba-Maze, a burgeoning toy company straight out of Minneapolis. With its sturdy cubes in bright colors, your Lego-loving brain can create all sorts of sculptures. Check them out on their website or visit the Walker Art Center to buy your own.